Bad Breath or Halitosis

 What causes bad breath or Halitosis?

With good dental care on the rise of importance in personal hygiene, bad breath can be a very embarrassing attribute. There are a few different causes of bad breath, ranging from stomach problems to diet and teeth problems, most of the causes can be found in the mouth. They are:

  1. Bacteria growth on the tongue (when bacteria grows in between the papilla or taste buds).
  2. Open cavities in teeth where food particles are often stuck.
  3. Gum diseases from poor eating or dental habits.
  4. Teeth extraction sites during healing where food can become lodged and if not taken care of, the site is infected.
  5. Dentures when not cleaned properly after each meal or morning and night.
  6. Alcohol and tobacco use which often causes tooth rot and plaque on the gum.
  7. Dry mouth caused by weather, medical conditions, or prescriptions.

These are a few other, non-dental reasons that cause bad breath:

  1. Sore throat
  2. Tonsillitis
  3. Certain types of food
  4. Infection of air passages

Treating Bad Breath

If you or someone you know is concerned about bad breath, the first step is a dental check up. Your dentist will be able to confirm or rule out the source of your bad breath through a regular exam. Following a good oral hygiene routine and receiving regular dental check-ups are the best ways to prevent bad breath.

When the cause is found, treatment will be determined and explained by your dentist. If the source of the bad breath is your mouth, there is little chance mouth washes or mints can treat the problem. They usually mask the problem for a short period of time, but they can sometimes exacerbate the situation (mouthwashes that contain alcohol cause dry mouth and usually make the bad breath worse).

To maintain good breath and oral hygiene, here are some tips for all to follow.

  1. Drink lots of water.
    1. Water helps wet the mouth in cases of dry mouth and can knock loose some stray bits of food on the tongue or in open cavities in the mouth. In addition to drinking water, chew sugar-free gum or mints stimulating saliva production in your mouth which fights away bacteria causing bad breath.
  2. Brush and Floss Regularly
    1. There is a reason dentists remind you to do so each appointment. Brushing and flossing cleans out those open cavities and removes acid and plaque from the teeth causing damage and erosion. Brushing and flossing is the best practice for preventing gum disease and intense dental operations.
    2. Remember, dentures should be removed each night and cleaned well prior to being put back in the mouth to prevent any gum disease.
  3.  Schedule Regular appointments with your Dentist
    1. Scheduling an appointment at least twice a year works as preventative care for your health. Dentists are able to see signs of other possible problems throughout your body through a simple dental health exam. Seeing your dentist semi-annually allows consistent feedback and treatment for bad breath, gum diseases, tooth decay, and more.